‘The Simpsons’ First Screenwriter Says She Was Kept Out of the Writers’ Room for Being a Woman: ‘No One Ever Called Me’

  • Indiewire
‘The Simpsons’ First Screenwriter Says She Was Kept Out of the Writers’ Room for Being a Woman: ‘No One Ever Called Me’
126 people have written or co-written an episode of “The Simpsons,” most of whose names you probably don’t know. Among that company is Mimi Pond, who happens to have penned the long-running show’s first episode; in a new Jezebel interview, Pond says that she never became a full-time member of the writing staff because she’s a woman.

Read More:‘The Simpsons’ Star Nancy Cartwright: 30 Years Later, Bart Simpson Has Become a Grandma — and a First-Time Filmmaker

“I was never invited to be on staff, and I never knew why for the longest time,” she says of her experiences. Eventually the truth came out:

“No one ever called me or explained to me or apologized or anything. And it wasn’t until years later that I found out that Sam Simon, who was the showrunner, didn’t want any women around because he was going through a divorce.
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Original ‘Simpsons’ Writer Says She Was Shut Out of Writers Room Because She’s a Woman

  • The Wrap
Mimi Pond, the writer of the first-broadcast episode of “The Simpsons,” says she was shut out of the Fox cartoon’s writers’ room because then-showrunner Sam Simon only wanted men writers. Pond, the cartoonist who wrote the show’s premiere episode “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” was never hired as a full-time writer on the show because Simon refused to have women on his staff, she said in a Jezebel interview earlier this week. “I was never invited to be on staff, and I never knew why for the longest time,” she said. “No one ever called me or explained to me.
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“Simpsons” Writer Mimi Pond on Being Shut Out of All-Male Writers’ Room

The Simpsons

For a show that gave us Lisa Simpson, one of the most feminist TV characters of all time, “The Simpsons” hasn’t always been a welcoming environment for women. Just the opposite in fact, according to Mimi Pond, who wrote the classic sitcom’s inaugural episode, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” In an interview with Jezebel, the cartoonist and graphic novelist revealed that her career at “The Simpsons” stalled when then-showrunner Sam Simon insisted on the writers’ room being entirely male.

“I was never invited to be on staff, and I never knew why for the longest time. No one ever called me or explained to me or apologized or anything,” Pond recalled. “And it wasn’t until years later that I found out that Sam Simon, who was the showrunner, didn’t want any women around because he was going through a divorce. It had remained a boys’ club for a good long time. I feel like I was just as qualified as anyone else who came along and got hired on the show, and it was just because I was a woman that I was, you know, not allowed entry into that club.”

Pond continued, “The show is so beloved and everything, and I’m sorry to burst bubbles but [laughs] it wasn’t a pleasant experience for me.”

This isn’t the first time Pond has (rightfully) gone public with her experiences at “The Simpsons.” She also talked about it in an interview with Drawn & Quarterly and on the Maximum Fun/NPR podcast “Bullseye with Jesse Thorn.”

The reports of sexism at “The Simpsons” aren’t exactly shocking. Throughout pop culture and the internet, there are frequent references to the writers’ room being a paradise for new, male Harvard grads. And there has never been a female showrunner in the series’ nearly 28-year history.

It’s disheartening that the people behind Lisa are not practicing what they preach gender equality-wise, but the problem goes much further than “The Simpsons” — or Simon deciding that he can’t be around any women because he was divorcing one (seriously, Wtf?). According to research from Dr. Martha Lauzen, 71 percent of the series during the 2015–16 TV season featured no female writers.

Pond’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel “Over Easy” was published in 2014. The Pen Award winner and New York Times best-seller follows Madge as she works as a waitress in San Francisco after leaving art school. The “Over Easy” sequel, “The Customer Is Always Wrong,” was published earlier this year.

While Pond maintains that the comics world presents more of a level playing field for women, she is not shy about sharing her frustrations with Hollywood. “It’s still kind of ridiculously bad and the pay scale is completely unequal. Whether it’s actors or writers or producers or directors or anything, women are still paid less,” she told Jezebel. “Stories that get made into movies are still dominated by men and choices that men make about what people want to see, which is always about men between the ages of 13 and 34. Women are still relegated to roles in movies of being the supportive helpmate, or the sexy, helpful girlfriend. It’s so tiresome. It’s beyond being sexist, it’s just so boring.”

Season 29 of “The Simpsons” debuts on Fox October 1.

“Simpsons” Writer Mimi Pond on Being Shut Out of All-Male Writers’ Room was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Top 100 Christmas TV episodes of all time: 20 - 1




It's the final entry in Wesley's top 100 Christmas TV episodes of all time list, numbers 20 to 1. Merry Christmas to all!

Read entries 100 - 81 here, entries 80 - 61 here, entries 60 - 41 here, and entries 40 - 21 here.

Since the medium’s infancy, viewers have enjoyed sharing holidays with their favourite television characters. We grow invested in our friends on screen over the years; spending Christmas with them is a rite of passage, a chance for us to share tradition from our world with the fictional ones we see on screen. Some shows embrace the season wholeheartedly, characters in good spirits and enjoying the trappings of the season; others skew a little darker, bringing the more oppressive, burdensome side of the holidays to life. Either way, Christmas episodes tend to demonstrate the strengths of our favourite series, and it’s long been a festive ritual of mine to wheel out old
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Martha Thomases: Gifting Comics

  • Comicmix
Hanukkah is halfway over and Christmas is next week. Traditionally, columnists with no ideas use this as an opportunity to recommend gift ideas that, ideally, benefits themselves, their families or their friends.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know your gift-giving needs. I don’t know your friends. I don’t know your tastes, and your budget is none of my business. These are books that, if I didn’t already own them and love them, I would want to get. If they are new to you, I envy the good times you have ahead.

I want to start off with Mimi Pond because, well, I know her a little bit and this will make me seem important. She and I both freelanced for the fashion section of The Village Voice back in the late seventies and early eighties. Fashion was like the ugly stepchild at the paper, not
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Aisha Tyler to Host, Amy Poehler to Present at Pen Awards (Exclusive)

  • The Wrap
Aisha Tyler to Host, Amy Poehler to Present at Pen Awards (Exclusive)
Aisha Tyler will host and Amy Poehler will present at the 24th Annual Literary Awards Festival, honoring the best writing in the western United States, Pen Center USA announced on Wednesday. Tyler will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies, presenting awards to a distinguished group of writers who will take home $1,000 cash prizes. Poehler will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Norman Lear. Also read: Amy Poehler Remembers Late ‘SNL’ Announcer Don Pardo Pen Center USA has announced that Mimi Pond has won the organization's Graphic Literature Award with special mention for her graphic memoir, “Over Easy.” Previously announced Literary Award winners include.
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Martha Thomases: Female Pros and Cons, Part 3

  • Comicmix
If you’ve been following my columns this month here and here, you know I’m on a tirade. I don’t like it that women are still considered an afterthought in the comics industry, especially as our industry is represented at comics and pop culture conventions.

And so, I want to shine a spotlight on various shows, and discuss what they’re doing wrong, and what they’re doing right.

In my last column here, I wrote a lot about ReedPop, the folks who put on big shows in New York and Chicago, among other things. They only had women creators as about ten percent of their featured comics guests. Since then, several people have alerted me to the fact that C2E2 is highlighting their female guests in their advertising. This is a great thing. I commend them for it.

However ….

(Hey, I’m a Jewish mother. Whatever you do,
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SXSW Doc 'Beauty is Embarrassing' Opening in Theaters September 7

SXSW Doc 'Beauty is Embarrassing' Opening in Theaters September 7
The documentary "Beauty is Embarrassing," which profiles designer, painter, puppeteer, sculptor and musician Wayne White, will open this fall in select markets. The film, from first-time director Neil Berkeley, had its premiere at SXSW in March and has since gone on to play at a number of festivals, including Full Frame, Hot Docs, Silverdocs and L.A. Berkeley retraces White's steps from childhood to present day, covering a prolific career that included a stint as a puppeteer and voice-over actor on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," for which he won three Emmys. In addition to featuring White, Berkeley interviews Matt Groening, Mark Mothersbaugh, Todd Oldham, Mimi Pond and Paul Reubens for the documentary. The film will open September 7 in New York at the IFC Center, in Los Angeles at the Sundance Cinemas Sunset (formerly the Sunset 5), and in Seattle at the Northwest Film Forum. It will expand to other key cities throughout the fall.
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L.A. Film Fest Review: 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' Is A Laugh Out Loud Portrait Of The Wild & Wacky Wayne White

“Beauty is Embarrassing” is such a warm, laugh out loud charmer of a documentary, thanks entirely to its subject, the wild and wonderful Wayne White, that it leaves you wondering, just where has this delightful man been all this time? And that’s the question “Beauty is Embarrassing” posits too -- serving as an opportunity to bring attention to this artist who has been more influential than we, or even he, knows.

The film opens with White preparing to go onstage for his one man show at the Largo Theater in Los Angeles. It’s essentially a slideshow, with White displaying some of his most well-known work, telling stories, playing banjo and wackily dancing around. What you soon realize is: this guy is funny, and so are his paintings, thrift store landscapes bearing colorful turns of phrase, many of them bearing the F-bomb, which might just be White’s favorite word.
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Hot Docs Roundup: 'Despite The Gods' Fascinates, 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' Is Heartwarming & 'About Face' A Fun Look At Fashion

"Despite the Gods"

Aussie filmmaker Penny Vozniak's "Lost in La Mancha"-esque documentary “Despite The Gods," following director Jennifer Lynch and her experiences making her third film in India, is a low budget docu-delight. Lynch is the beating, empathic heart of the film, an endearing combination of raw emotional honesty and self-deprecating humor. After surviving a critical flogging at 19 for her first film "Boxing Helena," and enjoying the relative success of her second film "Surveillance," Lynch still had a lot to prove with her third film. However it is clear from day one this will not be the film she envisions it to be. The film in question is "Hisss," a Bollywood action tale of a snake that turns into a woman, and then back again. Though Vozniak's film is an interesting look behind the scenes at some the challenges of being an American director shooting in India (no
See full article at The Playlist »

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